My first encounter as part of this research was with Ruth Sapsed in early July in Cambridge to chat about her work with the eBooks. Ruth is the director of Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination (CCI). She was trained as a psychologist and researcher. According to the CCI website, their approach is to “place the people we work with at the centre, in the role of researchers and experimenters. Artists and creative practitioners work alongside participants as facilitators – allowing them freedom in the form of materials, spaces and time.”
CCI uses the eBook in all sorts of ways with all sorts of people. You can find a number of examples of their designs as part of their Recent Publications on their website. The following is a brief outline of some of the work she is currently doing with the eBook.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been imagining more uses of Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes, partly inspired by the family and personal eBooks created by our two Future Jobs Fund placements, Karine and Shalene, and partly with the help of Niharika Hariharan, a designer from Delhi (and former intern at Proboscis) who’s been in London recently. Last year Niharika designed a series of bilingual eBooks for a schools workshop in Delhi, Articulating Futures, which Proboscis co-designed and supported.
Earlier this year, in a Pitch Up & Publish event with We Are Words + Pictures, the eBooks were used by a couple of writers to create simple portfolios of their work to show prospective clients/commissioners. Over the years Proboscis has also used both the eBook and StoryCubes formats to create publications that present our work in a similar way. We’ve now come up with two ideas for using bookleteer to create highly personal eBooks about who people are and what they do, Pocketfolios and MeBooks.
We began by thinking about how we remember work by art, design and architecture students at graduate shows (often by collecting business or postcards) and how, looking back, sometimes it can be hard recalling why we might have collected someone’s details without a connection to what caught our interest in the first place. But what if there was a way for the students to give away something like a mini portfolio of their work? What if they could use bookleteer to create simple, yet beautiful, ‘pocketfolios’ with more details about them and their work?
Niharika has designed posters which we’re sending out to colleges to invite students to test out bookleteer for creating highly personal ‘pocketfolios’ – we’re also offering a 10% discount (using the discount codes on the physical posters) for students who want their pocketfolio(s) printed via our PPOD service. We have also developed another set of posters which we’ll be sending out to studios to invite makers of all descriptions to explore bookleteer and the Diffusion eBooks as a way to create personal or product-based pocketfolios.
A couple of weeks ago I took part in a meeting at Islington Council for employers participating in the Future Jobs Fund where there was very positive feedback about the young participants gaining in skills and confidence. However the mentoring and follow-on advice being offered seemed to lack inspiration for much else beyond CV writing skills.
It occurred to me that bookleteer could offer something quite different – an adaptation of the Pocketfolio idea that could be made relevant to people from all walks of life and in different job types and sectors than the arts or design. A personal narrative about them – their story, or MeBook – that could act as a portfolio of their skills, experiences, ambitions, hobbies and interests, what they’ve achieved and what inspires them. Something that helps them describe and share what they feel is the best of themselves that a CV simply couldn’t cover.
We’ve been brainstorming how we might do this (also with input from Karen Martin, resident bookleteer and Proboscis associate) and hope to have a workshop piloted in the next few weeks. I’ve recently met with staff from Islington Council as well as Judith Hunt and her team from Get More Local to hear their feedback on how this could benefit other young people on the Future Jobs Fund and other schemes. Watch this space for further announcements!
We would love to hear from anyone else involved in similar schemes who’d like to offer the MeBook idea to their placements/interns/trainees. Please get in touch to find out more.
We received an email yesterday from a user based in Epinay sur Seine, France describing how he’s used bookleteer with his students:
My name is J.-Thomas Maillioux, and I’ve been working as the librarian for the collège Evariste Galois middle school since 2005. I’ve recently started to use the bookleteers to create “adventure books” for our first-year pupils’ library orientation program in a format both convenient and original. The flexibility of the Bookleteer publishing platform has also allowed me to quickly and easily implement the modifications suggested by my own observations, or advice from the students and teachers involved in the orientation program.
I’ve also been able to sit down with small group of students to discuss what they would do with the Bookleteers : they suggested uses both for school (custom booklets for note taking on school trips, tutorials or HOWTOs for specific activities in sciences and technology classes, reminders while giving presentations in front of a class) and home (grocery shopping, tasks listing, books and stories writing or games) that make me think that, with the correct amount of support from their teachers in acquiring and supporting the necessary skills, they should be able to make the Bookleteers and the publishing platform their own relatively quickly : a good way to reconcile them not only with the printed word, but also with their printed word – that what they write, too, can be and deserves being made into a book with very little hassle.
We’d love to hear more testimonials of how bookleteer, the eBooks and StoryCubes are being used – please send your feedback to us at bookleteer at proboscis.org.uk